VU Men’s Basketball wins NJCAA Championship

Fourth title in school history

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VU Men’s Basketball wins NJCAA Championship

The Men's Basketball team won the NJCAA Championship game Saturday, March 23. (Trailblazer file photo)

The Men's Basketball team won the NJCAA Championship game Saturday, March 23. (Trailblazer file photo)

Noel Lee

The Men's Basketball team won the NJCAA Championship game Saturday, March 23. (Trailblazer file photo)

Noel Lee

Noel Lee

The Men's Basketball team won the NJCAA Championship game Saturday, March 23. (Trailblazer file photo)

Olivia P. Tucker, Sections editor

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The VU men’s basketball team returned to Hutchinson, Kansas for the NJCAA tournament where the team had been for seven straight years. This year, they returned to Vincennes with the NJCAA National Championship title. This is the first championship title for the team since 1972.

The men’s basketball team made it to the final game against the Rangers from Texas on March 23. In the first half the score was 50-34 with the Trailblazers in the lead going into half time. The team maintained the lead resulting in a final score of 87-77.

Kevin Osawe was the top scorer of the final game, scoring 22 points for the Trailblazers, and was named William French Most Valuable Player for the tournament awards. Head coach Todd Franklin received the award of Coach of the Tournament, while both Keith Clemons and Kevin Kangu were awarded All-Tournament Team.

“This team, was a team,” Franklin said. “Everybody had a part in this, we were probably the ultimate team. We usually have four to five guys in double figures, we had guys coming off the bench playing huge roles. It was different guys stepping up different nights, so for this team it was a collective effort.”

Franklin also added how proud he was of the team and how they did in the national tournament as well as how the team worked hard to achieve the win.

Winning a national championship is every team’s dream. It feels amazing just knowing that all the work we put into the season paid off to the result of winning a championship. We couldn’t have done it without our coach preparing us to compete at such a high level,” Clemons said.

The pep band and cheer team both made the trip to Kansas to cheer the team on in the final game. Jessica Patrick, supply chain logistics management, Greenfield, plays in the VU pep band and gave some commentary on the game.

“The first half of the game we were up by about 20 and I thought we had this, we were going to win this. And then the second half of the game we didn’t score as much and the other team caught up,” she said.

John Bixler, music, Fishers, also from the pep band said, “It was a great experience and when the team won the national championship [the band was] going crazy because we haven’t won a national championship since 1972 […] The game was really fun to watch live.”

Susie Jackson, chair of music and director of the band, said that to witness the game and ultimately win was awesome. She added that she couldn’t even put into words the feeling of the team winning the national championship.

The team returned to VU along with the pep band and cheer team accompanied by a police and fire truck escort on Sunday, March 24. They celebrated with students, faculty, staff and community members with a pep session held in the PE complex.

Link to commemorative front page of The Trailblazer (PDF)

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VU Men’s Basketball wins NJCAA Championship